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    Lipid Levels During Prenatal Brain Development Implicated In Autism
    By News Staff | April 8th 2014 06:31 PM | 4 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Researchers writing in Cell Communication and Signaling say that abnormal levels of lipid molecules in the brain can affect the interaction between two key neural pathways in early prenatal brain development, which can trigger autism.

    Environmental causes such as exposure to chemicals in some cosmetics and common over-the-counter medication can affect the levels of these lipids, according to the researchers.

    "We have found that the abnormal level of a lipid molecule called Prostaglandin E2 in the brain can affect the function of Wnt proteins. It is important because this can change the course of early embryonic development," explains Professor Dorota Crawford in the Faculty of Health and a member of the York Autism Alliance Research Group.

    This is the first time research shows evidence for cross-talk between PGE2 and Wnt signalling in neuronal stem cells.

    Lead researcher and York U doctoral student Christine Wong adds, "Using real-time imaging microscopy, we determined that higher levels of PGE2 can change Wnt-dependent behaviour of neural stem cells by increasing cell migration or proliferation. As a result, this could affect how the brain is organized and wired. Moreover, we found that an elevated level of PGE2 can increase expression of Wnt-regulated genes — Ctnnb1, Ptgs2, Ccnd1, and Mmp9. "Interestingly, all these genes have been previously implicated in various autism studies."

    Autism is considered to be the primary disorder of brain development with symptoms ranging from mild to severe and including repetitive behaviour, deficits in social interaction, and impaired language. It is four times more prevalent in boys than in girls and the incidence continues to rise. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2010 estimates that 1 in 68 children now has autism.

    "The statistics are alarming. It's 30 per cent higher than the previous estimate of 1 in 88 children, up from only two years earlier. Perhaps we can no longer attribute this rise in autism incidence to better diagnostic tools or awareness of autism," notes Crawford. "It's even more apparent from the recent literature that the environment might have a greater impact on vulnerable genes, particularly in pregnancy. Our study provides some molecular evidence that the environment likely disrupts certain events occurring in early brain development and contributes to autism."

    According to Crawford, genes don't undergo significant changes in evolution, so even though genetic factors are the main cause, environmental factors such as insufficient dietary supplementations of fatty acids, exposures to infections, various chemicals or drugs can change gene expression and contribute to autism.


    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    This is pretty amazing scientific news about a proven cause of autism, implicating the chain effect of environmental causes such as exposure to chemicals in some cosmetics and common over-the-counter medication which can then cause abnormal levels of lipid molecules in the baby's brain which can then affect the interaction between two key neural pathways in early prenatal brain development and then trigger autism.

    I am naturally very curious to know which cosmetics and which over the counter medication are implicated but non of the articles reporting this latest research that I can find tell us this rather crucial information. Good old Wikipedia has an article on Prostaglandin E2 and it describes the following pharmaceutical uses of prostaglanding E2 :-
    This article is about the pharmaceutical agent 'dinoprostone'. For the drug 'dinoprost', see Prostaglandin F2alphaThe naturally occurring prostaglandin E2 (PGE2 or PGE2) is known in medicine as dinoprostone. It has important effects in labour (softens cervix and causes uterine contraction) and also stimulates osteoblasts to release factors that stimulate bone resorption by osteoclasts. PGE2 is also the prostaglandin that ultimately induces fever.
    It is sold under the trade name of Cervidil (by Forest Laboratories, Inc.), Prostin E2 (by Pfizer Inc.), Propess (by Ferring Pharmaceuticals) and Glandin (by Nabiqasim Pharmaceuticals Pakistan) as a vaginal suppository, to prepare the cervix for labour; it is used to induce labour.
    Like other prostaglandins, dinoprostone can be used as an abortifacient. It is a direct vasodilator, relaxing smooth muscles, and it inhibits the release of noradrenaline from sympathetic nerve terminals. It does not inhibit platelet aggregation, where PGI2 does.
    It works by binding and activating the prostaglandin E2 receptor.
    It was discovered by Bunting, Gryglewski, Moncada and Vane in 1976.
    Up-regulation of PGE2 has been implicated as a possible etiology of nail clubbing.
    It is also implicated in duct dependant congenital heart diseases and is used in infusion in order to open the duct.

    Another Wikipedia article called Prostaglandin explains that :-

    The prostaglandins are a group of lipid compounds that are derived enzymatically from fatty acids and have important functions in the animal body. Every prostaglandin contains 20 carbon atoms, including a5-carbon ring.
    They are mediators and have a variety of strong physiological effects, such as regulating the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle tissue. Prostaglandins are not endocrine hormones, but autocrine orparacrine, which are locally acting messenger molecules. They differ from hormones in that they are not produced at a discrete site but in many places throughout the human body. Also, their target cells are present in the immediate vicinity of the site of their secretion (of which there are many).
    Role in pharmacology - Inhibition See also: Prostaglandin antagonist and Mechanism of action of aspirin
    Examples of prostaglandin antagonists are:
    • NSAIDs (inhibit cyclooxygenase)
    Clinical uses
    Synthetic prostaglandins are used:
    • In treatment of glaucoma (as in bimatoprost ophthalmic solution, a synthetic prostamide analog with ocular hypotensive activity)
    • As an ingredient in eyelash and eyebrow growth beauty products due to side effects associated with increased hair growth
    So, the only cosmetic mentioned above is an ingredient in eyelash and eyebrow growth beauty products, I really hope that doesn't implicate most mascaras or eye-makeup removers that many women use daily! The pharmaceutical use of treating 'egg-binding in small birds' is also a bit of a worry if farmers are giving prostaglandins to chickens to prevent egg-binding as I imagine that this could then possibly be affecting the contents of their eggs or bioaccumulating in the chicken's flesh or in their organs when we subsequently eat the poor old chickens!

    The most worrying pharmaceuticals that I can see in this article that are in common use by potential mothers and their babies are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs
    'The most prominent members of this group of drugs, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, are all available over the counter in most countries.' 

    The Corticosteroids have been used a lot in recent decades as were the prostaglandins to soften the cervix and induce labour in women.  Fortunately that is being used well after 'early prenatal brain development'. I would imagine that researchers now need to discover at what point prostaglandin E2 exposure via chemicals in some of these cosmetics and common over-the-counter medication stop potentially causing abnormal levels of lipid molecules in the older baby's brain that can then trigger autism?

    Researchers probably need to establish whether the effects of prostaglandins on the interaction between these two key neural pathways can also affect postnatal brain development, which could then also potentially trigger autism? Its interesting that NSAIDs are also commonly used before and after babies are vaccinated to try to prevent them from developing high temperatures and feeling pain, this could explain why so many parents have incorrectly blamed the contents of the vaccine for causing their child's autism which many claim commenced after a vaccination.

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    This is pretty amazing scientific news about a proven cause of autism
    You have no basis to make that assertion. 
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I'm referring to the opening paragraph of this Science20 article which clearly says :-
    Researchers writing in Cell Communication and Signaling say that abnormal levels of lipid molecules in the brain can affect the interaction between two key neural pathways in early prenatal brain development, which can trigger autism. 
    Are you saying that trigger is not the same as cause? I suppose you're right. Sorry, I should have said trigger autism not cause autism.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    What you claimed and what it says are not even close.